An exercise to test the Disaster Medical System will take place at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee on October 21.
“The exercise will provide area emergency management specialists with an opportunity to test our procedures, hone our communication abilities with one another, and prepare as much as possible for a contingency operation involving medical assets in our region,” said Roger Johnson, director of VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System and the federal coordinating officer for the exercise. “Our responsibilities as local, state and federal participants are to care for all patients needing our assistance as if they were our own neighbors.”
The exercise scenario will involve a natural disaster in the United States in which injured patients from a hospital severely impacted from the catastrophe, will be transported by U.S. Air Force medical airlift from the disaster incident to a patient reception team at Westover. The “patients” will be treated and stabilized before they are transported to participating hospitals in all four Western Massachusetts counties.
Medical airlift aircraft are expect to arrive at Westover beginning at noon. Patients from the flight will be accessed and then transported to area hospitals.
The exercise will test procedures to receive, triage, treat, transport and track patients arriving to a Massachusetts federal facility from a national disaster zone in the United States.
The American Red Cross along with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the City of Springfield Office of Emergency Preparedness, the Hampden County Medical Reserve Corps, 11 area hospitals, area emergency medical response units, and units assigned to Westover and the Massachusetts National Guard will participate in the drill.